Series Directed by Kaare Andrews and Set to Star Georgie Murphy, Bob Frazer and Gino Anania
New York, NY – June 30, 2022 – Strong Studios, Inc. (“Strong Studios”), a subsidiary of Ballantyne Strong, Inc.’s (“Ballantyne” or the “Company”; NYSE American: BTN) Strong Entertainment segment, and The Cartel announced today the start of production on Monday, June 20th in Winnipeg Canada on its new supernatural thriller series, Safehaven.
Safehaven was created by James Seale (30 Below, Throttle) who will serve as showrunner with Kaare Andrews (V Wars, Aftermath, Van Helsing, Mech X-4) on board to direct. The 10 episode series is set to star newcomers Georgie Murphy (Christmas by the Book) and Gino Anania (Skymed, The Porter, Kiss Before Christmas), along with the multi-award-winning Bob Frazer (Drinkwater, The Cannon, Finding Mr. Right, Girlfriend Experience, The X-Files).
Safehaven tells the story of high school comic artist Jenna Frost (Murphy), who must uncover the truth after horrifying visions come to life from her creations, threatening to destroy everything around her. John Rayburn (Frazer) is the mysterious new school counselor determined to save her, even if it endangers both of their lives and unearths his own personal demons. Complicating matters is Will (Anania), a passionate young man committed to protecting Jenna, who finds herself torn between rejecting his help and her growing feelings for him.
Safehaven is produced by Strong Studios, The Cartel (Creepshow, Day of the Dead) and Kevin V. Duncan (Juncture). Executive producers include James Seale; The Cartel’s Stan Spry, Eric Woods, and Anthony Fankhauser; Unbounded Entertainment’s Peter Odiorne, Matt Harton, Larry Swets and Hassan Baqar; Michael Bay’s 451 Media; Ballantyne’s Chairman Kyle Cerminara and CEO Mark Roberson; Strong Studios’ President David Ozer; High Park Entertainment; Screen Media’s David Fannon, Seth Needle and David Nagelberg; Brad Turner; and Jessica Petelle. Production financed by Bank of Hope’s David Henry and Andrew King. Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Screen Media will distribute the series.
“We have an all-star creative team and a fresh cast on board for this unique new series adapted from James Seale’s suspenseful and other-worldly graphic novel,” stated Strong Studios’ President David Ozer. “We are thrilled to join forces with The Cartel on Safehaven, which will be our first series to go into production under our newly-formed Strong Studios banner.”
“Safehaven will be a visually-stunning supernatural thriller with plot twists, dark humor, slick script and engaging characters that will no doubt deliver a bingeable series appealing to a broad audience,” said Stan Spry, CEO, The Cartel.
About Strong Studios
Strong Studios, headquartered in New York, NY, is a subsidiary of Ballantyne Strong, Inc.’s (NYSE American: BTN) Strong Entertainment segment. Strong Studios develops and produces original feature films and television series, as well as acquires third party rights to content for global multiplatform distribution. The new studio launched in March 2022 with an IP development slate acquisition and an initial distribution agreement with Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s Screen Media for two new scripted series, the supernatural horror “Safehaven,” and the dramedy “Flagrant,” with Michael Rapaport, which have both been officially greenlit for production this year. Screen Media will distribute both series, with their streaming services Crackle, Popcornflix, and Chicken Soup for the Soul having first rights to premiere. Additional series in Strong Studios’ development and production pipeline include “Shadows in the Vineyard,” starring Judith Light and Noah Wyle; the drama series, “Heartbeat,” co-created by legendary DJ couple Kiss and M.O.S.; and the horror series “MidNightMares.”
About Ballantyne Strong, Inc.
Ballantyne Strong, Inc. (www.ballantynestrong.com) is a diversified holding company with operations and holdings across a broad range of industries. The Company’s Strong Entertainment segment is the largest premium screen supplier in North America, provides technical support services and related products and services to the cinema exhibition industry, and recently launched its studio operations to produce content for streaming and other entertainment outlets. Ballantyne holds equity stakes in Firefly Systems, Inc., GreenFirst Forest Products Inc. (TSX: GFP), and FG Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: FGF), as well as real estate through its Digital Ignition operating business.
About The Cartel
Founded in 2011 by partners Stan Spry, Eric Woods and Jeff Holland, Cartel is a feature film and television production, distribution, financing and management company representing top-tier show runners, show creators, writers, directors, producers and production companies in film, TV and new media. Cartel has also produced more than 150 movie and television productions since inception, including the hit series Creepshow for Shudder, the animated series Twelve Forever for Netflix, and Syfy series Day of the Dead. Cartel previously produced the series Ties That Bind for Up TV, and A Place in the Sun for Discovery as well as several recent feature films, including Christmas With the Campbells, Monsters of California, Switched for Christmas, Jeepers Creepers 3, Christmas Connection, Love at the Shore, Sun Sand and Romance, Love at First Glance, and Wrong Nanny, to name a few. In 2013, Cartel purchased and renovated Tamarind Lithography Studios, which is their Los Angeles headquarters, as well as a full-service production and post-production complex and in 2021 Cartel launched international distribution arm, Cartel Studios International. Cartel also has offices in London, England, Las Vegas, USA and Winnipeg, Canada.
In addition to the historical information included herein, this press release includes forward-looking statements, such as management’s expectations regarding its portfolio companies, the Company’s intent to pursue an initial public offering and separate listing of its Entertainment business, as well as future sales, the impact, length and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, general economic recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the adequacy of the actions taken in response to the pandemic, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those discussed in the “Risk Factors” section contained in Item 1A in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 filed with the SEC on March 24, 2022, and the following risks and uncertainties: the negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has already had, and may continue to have, on the Company’s business and financial condition; the impact on the global economy and supply chains of the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine and the sanctions related thereto; the Company’s ability to maintain and expand its revenue streams to compensate for the lower demand for the Company’s digital cinema products and installation services; potential interruptions of supplier relationships or higher prices charged by suppliers; the Company’s ability to successfully compete and introduce enhancements and new features that achieve market acceptance and that keep pace with technological developments; the Company’s ability to successfully execute its capital allocation strategy or achieve the returns it expects from these investments; the Company’s ability to maintain its brand and reputation and retain or replace its significant customers; challenges associated with the Company’s long sales cycles; the impact of a challenging global economic environment or a downturn in the markets (such as the current economic disruption and market volatility generated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing military conflict in Ukraine and related sanctions); economic and political risks of selling products in foreign countries (including tariffs); risks of non-compliance with U.S. and foreign laws and regulations, potential sales tax collections and claims for uncollected amounts; cybersecurity risks and risks of damage and interruptions of information technology systems; the Company’s ability to retain key members of management and successfully integrate new executives; the Company’s ability to complete acquisitions, strategic investments, entry into new lines of business, divestitures, mergers or other transactions on acceptable terms, or at all; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s portfolio companies; the Company’s ability to utilize or assert its intellectual property rights, the impact of natural disasters and other catastrophic events (such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing military conflict in Ukraine and related sanctions); the adequacy of insurance; the impact of having a controlling stockholder and vulnerability to fluctuation in the Company’s stock price. Given the risks and uncertainties, readers should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statement and should recognize that the statements are predictions of future results which may not occur as anticipated. Many of the risks listed above have been, and may further be, exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on the cinema and entertainment industry, and the worsening economic environment. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements and from historical results, due to the risks and uncertainties described herein, as well as others not now anticipated. New risk factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for management to predict all such risk factors, nor can it assess the impact of all such factors on the Company’s business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Except where required by law, the Company assumes no obligation to update, withdraw or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect actual results or changes in factors or assumptions affecting such forward-looking statements.
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